Middle Back Pain


Facts about Middle Back Pain

Talk about a pain in the back; literally, middle back pain is an increasing complaint of many people.  The reason?  Mainly, the increase is due to a sedentary lifestyle that is becoming more and more common for today’s population. 

The human body was designed as a vehicle able to withstand challenge.  A complex and unique muscular and skeletal system works together like a well oiled machine when it is allowed to perform a variety of tasks.  Rather than have delicate limits, our muscles simply grow bigger and stronger with more exercise.  What we term as our “back” is the biggest posterior section of the body; encompassing the area from the neck down to the top of the buttocks.  On the opposite side of the chest, the back is where the spine and part of the rib cage is found.  Several groups of muscles are also found here, permitting movement of the vertebrae, the shoulders and neck.  The purpose of the back is to provide support for the body, and can be divided into two parts:  the upper back and the lower back.  The upper back supports most of the structure of the body, while the lower back enables flexibility and bending.  A myriad of nerves, ligaments and tendons branch off and adjoin the bones and muscles which intertwine and connect. 

In early days of civilization, much more effort was required in order to eat, move and transport our bodies.  No machines existed to do our labor; no grocery stores provided us with ready made food; no vehicles were available to get us from here to there.  If a home was needed, trees must be cut by hand for logs, and then planks cut for smooth surfaces.  Hard labor was needed to construct the home.  Food was acquired by hunting or farming; done on foot and through sweat and might.  In those days, our bodies were begging for rest.  In current days, they are begging for exercise as we sit at computers, supervising machines that construct and assemble, and ride in vehicles to transport us to and from locations.  Food is a simple matter of purchasing the local market, or even ordering online and having it delivered to us. 

As a result of progressive technology, we have allowed the one most important machine, the human body, to decay.  Muscles grow weak and small through nonuse; energy is depleted before it even begins.  Even those of us who regularly attend gyms are typically not utilizing all of the muscle mass with which we were endowed.   The body is only functioning at a small percentage of its ability and, as the muscles diminish, the risk for injury and pain rise.  Back pain, in particular middle back pain, occurs when these underdeveloped muscles are asked to suddenly perform a task for which they are not prepared. 

Types of Back Pain

Most back pain can be attributed to muscle sprains or strains.  A sprain occurs to the ligaments; fibrous bands of tissue connecting bones in order to keep them aligned properly for optimal movement.  Tearing or unusual stretching of the ligaments is called a sprain.  The muscle itself is affected with the onset of a strain; gross stretching of the muscle will cause small tears to develop.  Pain may not immediately be felt; it can take up to one or two days for the inflammation and swelling to reach a point that causes pain.  In the weakened and shorter muscles of the standard sedentary individual, merely sleeping in the wrong position can create such a condition.  Other causes of back pain can be muscle spasms and cramps; symptoms that may be caused by the strain or sprain.